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College faculty presents program on "Golden Days" of radio to students at St. Julian School

Amy simpson going over lines to a radio show with young students

Southeast Kentucky Community amp; Technical College faculty members Astor Simpson and Amy Simpson provided recently a glimpse to youth of a bygone era when radio was the medium for entertainment as well as news.

Speaking to students at St. Julian School in Middlesboro, the Simpsons went into detail to explain about the golden era of radio as dramas were commonplace -- creating the theater of the mind. The reason it was called this, said Astor, was because it took ones imagination to fully enjoy the art. People could imagine what the radio hosts and actors were saying, which made the possibilities endless.

Amy Simpson, who also works with the Middlesboro Little Theater, told students that this type of entertainment was popular because there were no televisions, video games or computers back in those days. She added that people would usually work and do chores during the day and then, at night, the entire family would gather in front of the radio and listen to the various music programs and dramas showcased across the airways. She said some of the more popular programs of the era were the Green Hornet, Gun Smoke and Sherlock Holmes. The shows typically lasted 30 minutes.

Following their presentation, students listened to a 1944 episode of the Green Hornet on a vintage radio. Students paid close attention to the radio as they began to enjoy this different form of entertainment.

Following the conclusion of the radio program, students in grades four through six acted out a short play from Little Orphan Annie. Fourth graders created the sound effects. For example, they used cups to create the sound of footsteps and tore pieces of paper in order to duplicate the effect of opening gifts and packages.

Fifth and sixth graders read the lines from the play, and afterward each was given a warm cup of Ovaltine, which was the long-time sponsor for the Little Orphan Annie program